“There are many who don’t wish to sleep for fear of nightmares. Sadly, there are those who don’t wish to wake for the same fear.” – Richelle E. Goodrich
I have awoken in a strange room, aroused by a noisy, forceful wind that seems to be shaking the very foundation of the edifice. I see that I have been curled up behind a couch on the floor. I struggle to raise my head and to look over this obstacle and see through the only window, and with great trepidation, dark swirls of dirt and grit, evincing visible and menacing gales that pass by but seem to swarm around the panes, as if seeking entrance.
On the opposite wall is a door, only three or four feet from me, and with some degree of difficulty—for my limbs are inflexible and marked with aching as if I had been held in restraints—I crawl to it. Upon managing to open it, I see a hallway and across this corridor an open door, revealing a room similar to the one in which I find myself.
Through the window across that room, I see that whatever tempest is tormenting us is pressing from that side of the building, for there the grit and pulverization fling viciously and threaten to break through at any moment.
Suddenly, two people in that apartment, a man and a woman, run across my line of vision. They appear to be gathering things and stuffing them into sacks, and then, taking a glancing look at me, they run down the hall and out of sight. One of them, the man, shouted something at me, but it was in great haste and excitement. It sounded like, “We all have to get out! We are not safe here!”
But I am in that state between sleep and mindfulness, when one’s coordination of physical extensions is as if being attempted with an impaired consciousness. They left their door wide open, and I can see that very soon the chaos of wind and gravel will come crashing through that precarious transparency across the room. I can imagine the devastating upheaval it will create there before spewing through that portal and into the hallway, and then into my own chamber. I want to shut that other door, but I am barely able to shut mine.
And I linger here, on my knees, with my hands clinging to the knob, and my head resting on the wood… and then, I hear the most violent outburst of destruction and tumultuous invasion occurring only feet beyond this precious barrier. It is difficult to put into words what must be the sounds of furnishings being viciously slammed into the walls and then the flinging of remnants, and the roar and screaming of a wind that seems to express an anger steeped in agony that can only be vented in the most ruinous way possible.
Finding the prescience of some sharp object coming through the door and injuring me, I fall away and settle, still on the floor, with my back against the back of the couch. Here I sit and listen with growing alarm and consternation, as the clamor and percussion flood into the hall. At once, the thin barrier before my eyes begins to agitate and vibrate with a great ferocity, burdening itself upon the latch and hinges. Around the edges, billows of dust begin to find their way and blow in as if some wrathful creature is snorting with a horrific impatience and a threat of uncertain consequences if it is not granted entry.
And then, as if to confirm this impression, this tremulous and pell-mell disturbance is followed by a repetitious assault upon the external surface that bears the likeness of an enormous fist or a battering ram. This abuse results in the appearance of a fissure along the length of one of the upper panels and a succession of splintery welts on the others. The fissure and the open welts immediately issue forth streams of dust, and the wind proclaims itself with shrill whistles that affect my being with profound and morbid expectation.
I know there are other rooms in this apartment, to which I can escape this imminent peril, but the physical effort is thwarted by that same disability of arms and legs. It is as if my brain is at least partially disconnected from my extremities.
I see what looks like the leg of a chair suddenly protruding through the fissure. It appears that a chair was thrown by and one of its legs has gotten caught in the aperture. And now, it is rocking back and forth furiously and with reckless determination until … until the force of it pries off another part of the panel. And now, I can see what I can only describe as a great catastrophe in the making, a dizzying chaos… almost laughable… in a maddening way.
The fury of this turbulence has filled the hall with flying debris of all sorts and sizes. Some of the smaller pieces are finding their way through the opening in the door, hitting the walls and knocking things over. The force of the wind has already ripped the other apartment into total ruination and now chases through the hall with complete abandonment. Flurries of dust, sand, grit, dirt, and gravel are now invading my space with no surcease or mercy.
The accompanying roar of this encroachment is as a locomotive engine or a stampede of wild behemoth creatures bent on crashing in at any moment—it becomes deafening and coerces the consciousness into a pointedness of imminent horror.
I hang my head and close my eyes with an attitude of acceptance and surrender. And then… I raise my head and open my eyes in a conclusive affront of defiance.
Suddenly, everything appears to have slowed down and all sound has been quieted. It is as if time itself has shifted to a crawl. The debris in the hallway drifts by silently, like peaceful summer clouds that never seem to reach any particular destination.
I see the other upper panel in the door burst apart completely, the other panels yielding in as well, soundlessly and unhurriedly. The idea now enters my mind that this is some sort of prolongation of the mental and emotional torture that has befallen me. And this kind of surrealism can only occur in a dream… and that may also explain why I am unable to move.
And now that I think I understand this episode of misadventure, I can let go of the panic and hysteria that has been festering in me all this while. I watch the slow incursion of calamity, the silent nightmare. As a cloud of dimness passes over me, I am overcome by a wave of exhaustion… darkness… unconsciousness.
My last semblance of awareness, my last thought… will I awaken again?
I have awoken in a strange room… aroused by a noisy, forceful wind…
r. nuñez, 8/2016